You’ll Never Believe Why These 10 Countries Banned McDonald’s

McDonald's restaurant sign

Even though it seems like McDonald’s is everywhere, you won’t find it in certain countries. | Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

McDonald’s operates 36,000 restaurants in 119 countries worldwide, reportedly serving 75 hamburgers every second of the day. Since 1955, people have definitely been lovin’ it.

But just because they’re hugely popular in every corner of the globe it doesn’t mean that everyone wants the undisputed king of fast food to come into their country. And while you’ll find McDonald’s restaurants in some pretty unique locations — like the spaceship-shaped version in Roswell, New Mexico and the sole Cuban outpost in Guantanamo Bay — you won’t find one in every country on Earth. Some nations have said, “No way,” to those golden arches.

Ahead, discover the 10 countries where McDonald’s executives either don’t see a customer base or where they’re expressly forbidden from opening a restaurant.

1. Iceland

There were three McDonald’s restaurants in the capital city of Reykjavik prior to the 2009 currency collapse. But even when finances stabilized, city officials didn’t invite franchise owners back with open arms.

As one of the healthiest countries in the world, Iceland doesn’t exactly fit in with McDonald’s core clientele. The Icelandic government is working on building a local chain that’s focused on regionally sourced ingredients rather than reinstating the failed fast food restaurant.

Next: Having a McDonald’s in this country could inspire acts of terrorism.

2. Yemen

Yemen neighborhood

Safety is a factor in Yemen. |

McDonald’s is fairly picky about which countries they venture into, and they only operate in places that are deemed economically viable. Yemen doesn’t fit the criteria.

The unstable economy is the biggest reason why there aren’t any McDonald’s restaurants in Yemen, but safety is also a factor. There’s a real concern that any American establishments in this region would become automatic targets for terrorist attacks.

Next: This island’s residents might be too snobby for McDonald’s.

3. Bermuda

Hamilton, Bermuda

Residents didn’t want a franchise. | andykazie/iStock/Getty Images

When McDonald’s attempted to open a restaurant on this island nation in 1996, the residents went on the offensive, effectively instituting a law that prohibits franchisees from going here.

As local Phyllis Harron said, “It is not Bermudian. McDonald’s cheapens wherever it goes.”

And it’s not just McDonald’s — there are no fast food restaurants permitted to cross onto their idyllic shores. Bermuda also bans neon signs and billboards.

Next: They don’t have McDonald’s, but their leader smuggles in Big Macs on a regular basis.

4. North Korea

Kim Jong Un

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is a fan of McDonald’s burgers. | STR/AFP/Getty Images

It should come as no surprise that one of the most restrictive and controlling countries in the world won’t allow McDonald’s to break ground on their soil.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is not a fan of the United States, but when it comes to McDonald’s burgers, he’s willing to make an exception … at least for himself. Sources say he regularly has Big Macs flown in from China so he can indulge his personal McDonald’s cravings, even if no one else in the country is allowed to.

Next: The fast food behemoth pulled out in 2014 thanks to abysmal sales figures.

5. Bolivia

Peru's President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski (first row, 6-L) and his Bolivian counterpart Evo Morales (7-L) pose with the members of their delegations for the family picture of the II Bilateral Meeting of Presidents and Ministers of Bolivia and Peru, in Sucre, Bolivia.

Bolivians don’t really like fast food. | Aizar Raldes/AFP/Getty Images

It’s not that McDonald’s isn’t allowed to operate in Bolivia — it’s more that no one wants it there.

At least, that’s what the sales are saying. The last restaurant in this South American nation closed up shop in 2014 following sub-par performance that had them operating at a loss.

Bolivians aren’t enamored by the existence of fast food in general. As their president Evo Morales said in a speech, “They [McDonald’s] are not interested in the health of human beings, only in their earnings and corporate profits.”

Next: The McDonald’s locations here closed because of a fight.

6. Macedonia

Sveti (Saint) Jovan Kaneo Church on Lake Ohrid, Macedonia at sunset

There had been some McDonald’s restaurants in Macedonia. | outcast85/iStock/Getty Images

There used to be seven McDonald’s restaurants in Macedonia — at least until an epic fight between the head of McDonald’s European offices and the Macedonian franchisee owner.

Once their agreement was terminated in 2013, all restaurants were shut down immediately, ending a 16-year-run concentrated in the capital city of Skopje.

Next: This country’s residents can’t afford the dollar menu.

7. Ghana

Port full of people in Ghana, Africa

Citizens can’t afford McDonald’s. | Siempreverde22/iStock/Getty Images

McDonald’s was never ordered to stay away from the African country of Ghana, but they’re unsure that the citizens can afford the “luxury” of fast food. That’s because the average income is only $1,340 per year.

Still, steady economic growth thanks to offshore oil interests has some experts anticipating a McDonald’s opening in the capital city of Accra in the coming years. City residents make more money on average, and the KFC in town is a huge success.

Next: People talk about opening a McDonald’s here, but so far it hasn’t happened.

8. Zimbabwe

City of Harare viewed from the Harare Central Park, Harare, Zimbabwe

There have been talks of opening franchises in Harare, Zimbabwe. | GeraldMashonga/iStock/Getty Images

McDonald’s started the process of opening franchises in Zimbabwe’s capital of Harare more than 10 years ago, but when the economy collapsed, the conversations came to an abrupt stop.

The talks started up again in 2010 and local fast food places prepared themselves by rebranding in anticipation of the competition. So far they still haven’t made good on the promise.

Next: The trailer-based McDonald’s did good business until they had to leave.

9. Montenegro

"Our Lady of the Rocks" and a cruise liner in Montenegro

Officials are concerned about fast food’s effect on health. | joyt/iStock/Getty Images

The only McDonald’s in Montenegro operated out of a trailer and did decent business until its closure in 2003. Officials forced the fast food restaurant out for good, citing health concerns for citizens.

Next: This is the biggest country without a McDonald’s.

10. Kazakhstan

Astana, Kazakhstan

The country might be on the brink of getting its first McDonald’s. | cosmopol/iStock/Getty Images

This Asian country has the distinction of being the largest to ever say “no” to hosting a McDonald’s restaurant. However, their strict stance may be changing.

A new shopping mall is slated to open soon in the capital city of Astana and sources claim it will have the nation’s first McDonald’s. For now, however, the residents are living without the benefit of fast food fries and milkshakes.

Read more: McPizza and Other Fast Food Failures You Can’t Order Anymore

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